We really are a nerdy family. Does anyone else own all the seasons of Stargate SG-I, Atlantis, and SGU? Anyone else’s nine-year-old ask questions like, “Who do you think would win in a fight, Teal’c or  Ronon?” Can your kids identify a Genii by his uniform, or know the inside joke about the Furlings? Ya, nerdy.

So, we were all sitting around talking about Stargate the other day, and commenting on the ways the shows have developed over the years. One of the kids made the comment that SGU (the storyline is that several humans have been zapped onto an ancient space ship, which is traveling in a distant galaxy, and they are trying to get back to earth, which is, of course, a very tricky thing to do) … anyway … one of the kids made the comment that SGU is like LOST only instead on being trapped on an island the people are trapped on a spaceship. He’s right. I can picture the producers sitting around planning the new installment of the Stargate franchise, and one of them says something like, “Well, that show LOST did pretty good. Why don’t we do THAT. Only we’ll put them in space because, you know, its science fiction.”

And that discussion made me think about story, and how, since the beginning of time, it’s kind of all been the same. Different characters, different settings, but pretty much the same story, retold.

I spent most of last week working on a workshop some friends and I are preparing on story. Women and story. People and story, really. God and humanity and … THE story. It’s very cool stuff. I’m very pumped about the idea of story right now.

Its made me think about the story I’m telling with my life. Is my story confusing? boring? meaningful? Is my main character brave or timid? Is she interesting or, well, not that interesting? Is she getting anywhere? Accomplishing anything?

I recently heard a Christian speaker (whose work I mostly like) suggest that as Christians we should accept that our lives are kind of like a story by  Daniil Kharms (a russian absurdist who starved to death in prison). Here’s one of Kharms’ stories. It’s very short.

Now one day a man went to work and on the way he met another man who having bought a loaf of polish bread was heading back home where he came from. And that’s it, more or less.

What?

I think his point (the Christian speaker, I mean) was that our lives are in God’s hands and we make too much of what we want out of life. Our lives are just a miniscule speck in the grand scheme of God’s larger plan, and we should just go along for whatever ride God decides to take us on.

This bothered me when I heard it and it bothers me still. Yes, God is in control and can do whatever he wants. In fact I often pray for him to do what he wants in my life. But that doesn’t mean I expect my life to be a series of meaningless encounters with polish-bread-carrying strangers.

Living with intention is key to living a good story. I think so, anyway. I don’t know many people who I admire, Christian or otherwise, who lived their lives with absolutely no direction.

As a christian, though, I do appreciate the larger story. You know, the one about perfection, separation, reconciliation, hope. And I believe that all good stories since the beginning of time have followed this same pattern. The pattern of conflict, struggle, growth. At least, those are the stories I’m interested in.

Not, I went for a walk and came home.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the story my life is telling. And the stories other lives are telling. Everyone has stories.

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